Real estate litigation is any lawsuit or dispute arising from a legal interest in real property. These lawsuits may stem from commercial properties like office buildings, residential properties like homes, or even undeveloped land.
Commercial real estate litigation is especially common and requires a highly skilled real estate dispute attorney to handle. These cases are complex and you may be up against a powerful company, landlord, or another party on the other side.
Whether you are the property owner or have a lease interest in commercial property, the real estate litigation attorneys at Dunn Sheehan LLP know how to help. Our firm provides a wide range of commercial real estate litigation services to protect your legal rights. Our trial attorneys have extensive experience with real estate disputes, negotiations, and litigation.
What Is Real Estate Litigation?
Real estate litigation refers to an argument, dispute, or lawsuit over an interest in real property. These interests could include ownership, a lease, or even the transfer of real property. For example, a business may get into a dispute with its landlord over its commercial lease. When negotiations or arbitration fail to work, real estate litigation may be necessary to protect the business' legal rights.
Real estate litigation may cover issues such as (but not limited to):
- Commercial lease disputes
- Illegal actions by a commercial landlord or seller
- Contract violations by investors
- Problems with a real estate transaction
- Title disputes
- Commercial development disputes
- Foreclosure of real estate
- Problems with the land itself (i.e., improper survey, pollution, etc.)
When Should You Consider Hiring a Real Estate Litigation Attorney?
You should hire a real estate litigation attorney whenever there is a dispute with a real estate transaction. Real estate is valuable and your problems can have grave financial consequences. This is true whether you are a business or an individual. You have rights that deserve protection, and the right real estate transaction attorney knows how to help.
You should consider an attorney whenever an issue occurs. But the following are a few common examples of when you should hire a real estate litigation lawyer specifically.
Previously Undisclosed Issues
When you lease or buy real estate, the landlord or seller must warn you of known issues with the property. These defects may affect the property's value or even represent a danger to your physical health. Many sellers or landlords purposely avoid disclosing known defects to increase their ability to sell or lease the property.
Common examples of previously undisclosed issues include:
Pollution on the property
Significant problems with HVAC or other major appliances
Roof leaks or known problems that require replacement
Problems with mold
Major electrical problems
Many of these defects are latent, meaning they are not readily discoverable by the buyer or lessee without disclosure. If a buyer or lessee discovers a previously undisclosed issue, they should immediately speak with a real estate litigation attorney. Our Dallas civil trial attorneys know how to pursue financial compensation and other remedies in these types of cases.
Breach of Duty
Real estate agents are commonly liable when they breach their legal or ethical duties. These agents have a legal duty to act in your best interest rather than their own or that of a third party. They must protect sensitive and private information. The agent must always provide you with honest and accurate information. When a real estate agent fails to do this, they may be liable to you for breaching a legal duty.
Other parties may also breach a duty to you as part of a real estate transaction. These parties can be nearly anyone but may include an inspector, insurance agent, and much more. If another party breached their legal duty and violated your rights, real estate litigation may help you hold them financially responsible.
Breach of Contract
Most real estate transactions use a contract or other agreement. These contracts are usually in writing. But certain aspects may be oral as well, depending on the nature of the transaction. When another party breaches the terms of your contract, a breach of contract lawsuit can help hold them accountable for their actions.
A breach of contract case seeks to enforce the terms of the original agreement. One method to enforce the agreement is by specific performance. Specific performance refers to an order to comply with a specific provision in the breached contract.
For example, if you signed a lease with a commercial landlord, you could seek enforcement of the terms in that agreement. Specific performance is not always available or is not the best resolution. In that case, you may seek financial compensation for breach of contract.
Boundary Disputes or Trespassing Claims
Boundary disputes and title claims are common types of real estate litigation. These occur when the boundaries of the problem are unclear or others trespass on your property. Trespass can occur when others physically cross your property line, or when their use of their own property negatively affects yours.
These disputes are often highly contentious and complicated. However, the right legal team can help you protect your rights in commercial real estate.
Residential vs. Commercial Real Estate Litigation
Commercial real estate litigation occurs when a business uses real property for its purposes. These properties usually include warehouses, factories, shopping centers, and other places that businesses buy or rent. Commercial real estate transactions are often very complex and expensive. This means that a great deal may be at stake when another party tries to violate your rights.
Residential real estate litigation handles private homes or apartments. These are disputes about the purchase or sale of a single home. They may also be landlord/tenant disputes about a house or apartment. At Dunn Sheehan LLC, we represent parties in commercial and residential real estate cases and proudly represent clients like you.
Contact a Real Estate Litigation Attorney Today
Our real estate litigation attorneys at Dunn Sheehan LLC are ready to handle your legal dispute. Whether you are in a commercial sale dispute or dealing with a problematic lease, we are here to help. We have decades of experience handling both commercial and residential real estate litigation. We will put that experience to work for you.